‘Mythbusters’ exhibition opens in Chicago museum
Who gets wetter, someone walking in the rain or running? Is it really possible to hang from a cliff by your fingers until help arrives like they do in the movies? And is Superman the only one who is faster than a speeding bullet?
Those are questions the Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” has asked for years, and now, anybody who’s wondered how long it takes to put on a superhero outfit in a phone booth — don’t forget the cape — can answer them for themselves at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.
“Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition” opened Thursday, marking the first time the show has taken such questions on the road. The Chicago exhibition, which runs through Sept. 3, is the first of a planned national tour that will include stops at several other U.S. cities, the Associated Press reports.
“This has both the science and also a sense of humor, what we’ve been doing for a decade,” Adam Savage, one of the show’s hosts, said before the exhibition opened.
Just like on the show, the exhibit is a kind of scientific bait and switch. It starts with something visitors have seen in the movies or on TV or that they can recall from their own experiences, such as dishes crashing to the floor when the tablecloth is yanked.
“That’s the hook,” said Jamie Hyneman, also a “Mythbusters” cohost. “That gets them involved and before they know what happens they’ve actually learned something or been lured into thinking carefully about what’s going on.”
The exhibit consists of about a dozen stations mixed in with props familiar to viewers, such as the actual casket Mr. Hyneman entered for a segment on being buried alive.
Movies and television and just plain storytelling play a big role in the exhibit. There is, for example, a place to build small houses out of progressively heavier blocks — one made of marble, another of wood and another of foam to represent the bricks, sticks and straw used by the three little pigs — to see if all that effort by the last little pig was worth it.
The exhibit also includes a live show that asks whether it’s possible to dodge a bullet — or at least a paint ball. Those selected from the audience will be asked to come onstage, put on a protective coat and hold a clear plastic shield in front of them to see if they can jump out of the way before a paint ball traveling 250 feet per second, or 175 mph, hits the shield with a splat.
One thing missing from the exhibit that is a big part of the show are explosions. Mr. Hyneman said there was just no way in an enclosed space to safely blow stuff up.
Even without such a display, the show’s stars hope the exhibit will bust what they say is the biggest myth of all: Science is just for nerds.
“Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition,” which opened Thursday at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, shows audience members how long it takes to put on a superhero outfit in a phone booth.